(As we know, Coop here won't be able to review Myriador's 2003 d20-isation of Deathtrap Dungeon properly because nostalgia would take over. Accordingly I decided to cast around for a more naive-level reviewer. So, here we have a first for fightingfantasist in that we have a guest reviewer in the form of Gene, my 12 year old nephew. )
Thanks, Uncle Coop.
Deathtrap Dungeon is a module for 3.0 d20 which is unfortunate because that's really, really old as because we know (I Googled it) apparently that was a 3.0 but that was great until it became shit because 3.5 came out. There's no need for either shitty 3.0 or good-in-it's-day 3.5 because now we have 4.5 and obviously that's the shit because it's newer. So I don't know if I'd be interested in this old shit but Uncle Coop asked me to look it so here goes. I'm not entirely averse to old shit, I did once play Super Mario 64 at Coop's but the graphics were shit and there weren't even any fucking Gamer Achievements to scorewhore.
Deathtrap Dungeon is based upon a book by Ian Jackson or someone and I'm really disappointed in the background fluff which is really immature. You are told to go through some illogical dungeon by a guy called Baron Sukumoff or something and then he'll give you money and honestly this is a style of inferior roleplaying that should have been consigned to history back when they did away with compact discs.
Honestly, when I was 9 I was roleplaying in a far more superior and noble fashion than this, this is pathetic and baby-like. Back when I was 9 I had a VtM character called Jack Cockhard and he had been embraced when he was a member of Ghengis Khan's Mongol horde and he wore this leather trenchcoat and fought with two katanas that were tipped with mono-molecular edges, the technology for which he'd stolen from a top secret Black Ops Area 51 lab and he had a cybernetic arm with two Desert Eagles and an Uzi built in and he was really angsty and suffered from ennui and we spent a lot of our time doing really hardcore in-depth roleplaying, so hardcore that we spent long hours in roleplaying sessions acting out what we were doing with prossies before embracing them and – (that's enough - Coop)
Anyway this is a immature dungeon of 57 rooms and maybe it would keep you entertained if you were 8 or something.
It's also only for one PC and one Storyteller (Dungeon Master – Coop) so I imagine it could be useful if you are too old to have a regular gaming group – say you are like 22 or something. There is a token effort made at saying you could run a party through but little said about whether Baron Sukedhimoff might notice this was cheating when the other entrants all turned up on their own.
There's new stat added called LUCK which can be used like in the original Fighter Fantasy gamebooks but shittily, you have to roll it and can't point build so there is no way to optimise your build! This is total wank and means you may get laughed at for having a sub-optimal build. Totally unacceptable in this day and age. I felt completely raped by the system.
Much of the artwork is reused from the original book back in the 1950s or whenever it was which is OK considering it's old and crap but a few are redrawn for this scenario. Uncle Coop lent me the original book and I noticed that there was a pic not found in this version of a hot Elf bird being strangled by a giant penis snake which was quite hentai and -
For the purposes of this review, I did cheat my way through Steve Livingstone's original book and the scenario is pretty close but wimps out a little bit by adding lots of little notes with cryptic clues throughout the dungeon to tell you what to do (I would have just allowed a Wisdom skill check and if the player makes it say, so “OK, you were clever enough to collect the right number of gems during your passage through Deathtrap Dungeon, you can have 5000xp”). I think the problem is here is that Ian Steve's original book was designed to be Nintendo-hard and take many attempts to get through (there's no Save points for fucks sakes) but nobody wants to make a killer dungeon that can't be beat on your first play-through otherwise fat cunts like Jordan in my gaming group will burst into tears when their Planetouched Tiefling Paladin-Bard gets poison-gassed to death by Igbut the Trialmaster and then Brooklyn will throw him out of his bedroom because he stinks because he never showers because it's too much effort to lift his Slipknot t-shirt over his man-boobs.
Also I think if you are playing this and didn't read the original old book you won't really get it and if you did, you know how to win and will have to pretend you don't while saying things like “Oh wow, a sapphire. I'm so glad I found this and I'm sure it won't ever be needed in a contrived three-gem-door-lock puzzle later on in this dungeon.”
Apart from the dungeon you get a little splatbook about Fang, the town where Deathtrap Dungeon is sited but it doesn't answer a really important question I have about the place and without a canon answer I wouldn't be happy to run a game in Fang.
Basically is Fang AZN? I ask because in the original book Sukumclit appears to be wearing clothes from Natalie Portman's wardrobe on Naboo and the people of Fang look like AZN kids or something. And we know that Steve Ian was a bit of a weeaboo and named Suksumballs after a street in Bangkok's red light district so I think he meant Fang to be all AZN and the scenario here doesn't really go into that and assumes it's like European Middle Ages like the 1910s or something back in the days when Germany bombed Hitler with the A-bomb.
What I need to know is, and I need a proper canon answer here from somebody who has read all the fluff, are there chickboys in Fang? Because if it's AZN I think that would fit and we could have some good games there.
It's like if an AZN guy made a load of money by inventing Pachinko or Pokemans in Asia and then he came to Europe on a shop-lifting expedition like all those Spanish schoolkids you see in Birmingham city centre and then when he went home he decided to create an RPG book and named his BBEG Lord Reeperbahn or King Singelgebied or Baron Hagley-Road-Between-Bearwood-High-Street-And-Five-Ways then we'd know what he was talking about.
My verdict – It's kind of OK if you want this kind of old shit or you don't have enough friends and have to play D&D with just one player and aren't bothered about whether are there are any newhalf lady-boys in the tavern the PCs stay in.
Apparently there's a sequel to the old book called Trial of Champions and a d20 version of that too, which I haven't read but I guess it must be better because it's the sequel.